My Hero Academia: How AFO controls Shigaraki, explained

AFO doesn't have the best intentions for Shigaraki (Image via My Hero Academia / Shueisha / Studio Bones)
AFO doesn't have the best intentions for Shigaraki (Image via My Hero Academia / Shueisha / Studio Bones)

Tomura Shigaraki wants to walk his own path in My Hero Academia, but his master has other plans.

At the beginning of the series, AFO trained Shigaraki to become his successor. There was even a point in My Hero Academia where it seemed like he would sit back and watch. His generational fight with All Might was over, and it was time for a new era of heroes and villains in this series.

Of course, manga readers know better by now. AFO bided his time while Shigaraki got more powerful. He never truly intended to be a mere teacher to his student. For better or worse, he became the main villain of My Hero Academia. Let's find out exactly how AFO pulled this off.

Note: This article contains major spoilers from the My Hero Academia manga. All external media in this article are the property of their respective owners, and Sportskeeda claims no ownership of the same.


AFO controls Shigaraki in a very specific way in My Hero Academia

It likely has to do with the AFO Quirk

Before the Paranormal Liberation War, Shigaraki had to undergo surgery to power himself up. Kyudai Garaki oversaw the entire procedure for several months. At some point, Shigaraki was given the original AFO Quirk, while his master had a duplicate version.

His surgery was interrupted during the first war in My Hero Academia. After waking up, Shigaraki laid complete waste to everybody around him. Eventually, he went after his arch-rival Izuku Midoriya. However, just as they were fighting, Shigaraki's body was suddenly taken over by AFO.

Although the villain was imprisoned in Tartarus, he still managed to reach Shigaraki through a "vestige world." In layman's terms, it refers to a subconscious realm that can only be entered by those with the OFA and AFO Quirks. Shigaraki tried resisting his master but to no avail.


This highlights the main difference between the OFA and AFO Quirk

These powerful Quirks contain "vestiges" from previous wielders. Midoriya, for example, can speak directly to former OFA users in his subconscious world. He can also use their Quirks, such as Blackwhip from Daigoro Banjo. The previous OFA Quirk users are very supportive of Midoriya.

In stark contrast, AFO has a parasitic relationship with Shigaraki in My Hero Academia. He plans on taking over his entire body instead of working alongside him. The OFA Quirk gives while the AFO Quirk takes.


AFO's main goal is to fuse with Shigaraki

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In order to become the ultimate villain, AFO plans on fusing his consciousness with Shigaraki's. He is very close to achieving that goal by the series' final arc. However, that's easier said than done.

The young and innocent Tenko Shimura is still residing within Shigaraki. It's the only vestige that AFO cannot take over. As it currently stands, they are still fighting for control over his body.

It remains to be seen if this will prove crucial in the final battle. Midoriya has been trying to reach out to Tenko since he saw him in the first war. Shigaraki can't be saved, but that doesn't mean Tenko can't. Manga readers will have to wait until the story concludes in the near future.